Joseph L. Dieleman, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, gathered information on 155 separate health conditions and six possible treatment categories: inpatient, outpatient (hospital), emergency services, dental care, prescriptions and nursing facilities.
The researchers also analyzed changes in five factors -- population size, aging, disease incidence, use of services, and service price and intensity -- as they relate to health care spending in the study period, 1996 through 2013.
"Intensity of care" refers to service variety and complexity. "It's the difference between a relatively simple X-ray as a compared to more complex MRIs and other forms of diagnostic services," Dieleman wrote in an email.
The analysis resulted in four main takeaways about why US health care costs rose.
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